Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, is a vital part of the Catholic religion. The Virgin Mary is often prayed to in intercessory prayers, to intercede to her son Jesus, on behalf of the believer making the petition. She is honored in the Catholic Church and Christian beliefs.
Mary is always referred to as the Virgin although it is believed that she had other children. The title of Virgin is most likely representative of the birth of Jesus but Catholics believe that Mary remained a virgin her entire life. The Catholic religion believes that the Virgin Mary was conceived without original sin and that she remained sinless in bearing Jesus. Mary’s conception was the Immaculate Conception. Through the Grace of God, Mary was conceived without being subject to Original Sin, even though her parents were subject to sin. The Immaculate Conception of Mary’s own birth is often confused with the virgin birth of Jesus.
Mary’s mother, St. Anne, vowed that she would devote her child to the service of God. Mary was to be raised in the temple and to remain a virgin. Although there may be some confusion over the mention of Jesus’s siblings, they are believed to be the children of Joseph, not Mary. In other words, they would have been Mary’s stepchildren.
Devotion to the Virgin Mary has continued down through the ages with early depictions of Mary and the Child Jesus to present day artwork. The Nativity scene is a common part of the décor associated with the annual holiday celebration of Christ’s birth. The Virgin Mary is referred to by the Catholic Church as the Mother of God, Mother of the Church and Mother of all Christians.
Devotion to the Blessed Mother Mary has never waned in the Catholic faith and perhaps became even stronger when the Virgin Mary appeared to three children in the famous Fatima sighting. The apparitions continued for six months on the 13th day of each month. As word spread of the appearances, crowds gathered at the site. Still, people make pilgrimages to the area.
Catholics believe that when the Virgin Mary’s earthly life was over, she was taken directly to Heaven. This act is referred to as the Assumption of Mary. The end of Mary’s earthly life is not said to be death since death is a consequence of sin and Mary was sinless throughout her earthly life. The Virgin Mary had remained pure and sinless. Catholics view the Virgin Mary as the Mother of all. She is exalted above both angels and humans. She intercedes on our behalf and prompts us to strive for peace in our personal lives and in the world. Mary is considered to be the greatest of saints.
There are other beliefs that feel Catholics place too much emphasis on the Virgin Mary thereby drawing focus away from Jesus but for Catholics this doesn’t seem to present a problem. Mary is not placed on the same level as Jesus but she is respected for her role in his birth. She is praised for her sinless purity, devotion to God and her Son.